Among the people who faithfully served the sovereign in the years of turmoil, it is worth highlighting the capital's mayor, Major General Vladimir von der Launitz. He was so fiercely hated by the enemies of the throne that they did not leave him alone even after death.
Vladimir Fedorovich was truly a Russian in spirit, although he came from the Baltic nobles. He was born in August 1855 in the Elatomsky district of the Tambov province (now the Sasovsky district of the Ryazan region). According to family tradition, one of the ancestors was in the retinue of Sophia Paleolog, the niece of the last Byzantine emperor - the bride of Grand Duke of Moscow Ivan III.
Vladimir began his military career in the elite Corps of Pages, where officers were trained for the royal retinue. After studying, the young von der Launitz was released by a cornet to the Alexandria Hussars. With the beginning of the war with Turkey (1877 – 1878) for the liberation of the Bulgarians and Serbs from the Ottoman yoke was asked to the front. As part of the Grodno Hussar Regiment, part of the corps commanded by the future Emperor Alexander III, participated in the battles. Subsequently, he served as an orderly for the commander of the 2 Guards Cavalry Division, General Joseph Gurko. At the front, he showed himself brilliantly, was awarded the Order of St. Stanislav 3 degree with swords and bow and St. Anne 4 degree with the inscription "For Bravery".
After the brilliant victory of the Russian weaponsVon der Launitz, with a penchant for administrative work and wanting to help the liberated quickly establish a peaceful life, remained in Bulgaria. In 1880, he returned to the regiment, and in 1887, with the rank of colonel, giving the army 20 years of impeccable service, he resigned.
The hero of the war of liberation is soon elected leader of the Kharkov nobility. Seen in this post by the authorities, he was appointed by the Arkhangelsk Vice-Governor in 1901. From August 1902, on the proposal of the Minister of Internal Affairs V.K. Plehve, becomes the Governor of Tambov. At all posts he works with full dedication, considering himself primarily a servant of the tsar and the Russian people, whom he showed constant concern. Having headed the vast Tambov Governorate at that time, he began to work there to solve social problems, as they would say now, while continuing to help out of his personal funds to the poor, orphans, and widows. The governor did not disdain to go into the slums and easily communicate with their inhabitants.
Von der Launitz organized and ensured an event unprecedented for that time in importance and scope - the visit of the imperial family to the quiet town of Sarov in connection with the glorification of the righteous old man Seraphim resting here in the face of saints. This event took place in the summer of 1903. At the grand celebration, many pilgrims from all over Russia were expected, but their number surpassed all the preliminary calculations - more than 300 thousands of people arrived. On the day of the meeting of the august family, situations arose that threatened to turn into tragedy. But thanks to the resourcefulness and diligence of the governor, accidents were avoided.
With the beginning of the Russo-Japanese War, an old soldier applies for an immediate departure to the front, but is refused. In the harassing rear of the experience, the servants need more. And the governor with double zeal is taken to help the front: opens hospitals, organizes the collection and shipment of food packages and medicines, mobilizes militias. I had to deal with the pacification of riots erupted in the province.
When landlord estates flared up, strong peasant farms were plundered, blood was shed, there were almost no troops subordinate to the governor, there were not enough police officers. What to do? Vladimir Fedorovich began to seek support among the people. And he found it in the person of the voluntary organization of the Union of Russian People named after Serafim Sarovsky, formed by the comrades of the governor G. N. Luzhenovskiy and N. E. Bogdanovich. Seduction was strangled, but both faithful assistants died at the hands of terrorists.
The experience of von der Launitz aroused genuine interest in the head of the neighboring Saratov province P. A. Stolypin, where the situation got out of control. Vladimir Fedorovich shared a secret: "Faith in God and a firm hand helped."
Soon, a firm hand was needed in Petersburg, where by the end of 1905, the unrest had become systemic. Vladimir Fedorovich, appointed on the last day of the outgoing year as the capital's mayor, combined with the post of chief of police chief, Vladimir Skilfully and energetically took up the duties assigned to him. He, remembering the Tambov experience, launched a merciless struggle with an armed revolutionary mob, widely relying on the people's militia and members of the Union of the Russian People, formed from among the townspeople. When the king decided to dissolve the Duma, the mayor promised to stop the possible unrest.
It should be noted that in relying on the right, Vladimir Fedorovich was virtually alone among the authorities, where liberal sentiments predominated. Even the influential Prime Minister P. A. Stolypin did not support his rapprochement with the Black Hundreds, who had the reputation of a reactionary, but had a hand in weakening this organization by introducing a split into its ranks. What turned out such a policy soon became clear: there was no one to hold back the onslaught of the revolution in 1917 in an organized manner in the lower ranks.
"I am not afraid of death ..."
Back in the Tambov period, von der Launitz, the terrorists sentenced him to death. For several years - 15 assassinations. When relatives and friends asked Vladimir Fedorovich to resign, leave the capital, he certainly answered: “I’m not afraid of death. We are all in the hand of God ... I will stay as long as the emperor needs. ”
He was killed that day, which the holy fool Pasha had predicted to him during the Sarov celebrations, December 21 (old style) 1906 of the year. The shooter turned out to be a member of the Combat Organization of the Socialist-Revolutionaries, Yevgeny Kudryavtsev, who could not be identified for a long time, which is why his alcoholized head in the bank was put on public display.
The sovereign experienced the death of his loyal, who was buried with great honors in his native estate. He donated a large black granite cross to the grave, which, despite the efforts of the God-fighting men who came to power, was not succeeded. But the body of the deceased was subjected to abuse. The revolutionaries did not want to leave him alone even the dead. In the 1921 year, despite protests from the peasantry, local party activists uncovered the burial. The body, according to eyewitnesses, turned out to be incorruptible, but this did not stop the blasphemers: the coffin was sent to the village council for washing the linen, and the well-preserved general's boots pulled the commissioner over. The fate of the remains of Vladimir Fedorovich is unknown.
In 2000, materials about his life, work, and martyr's demise were transferred to the Commission on canonization at the Holy Synod of the ROC MP.